Sandalford Wines has triumphed over its national counterparts and won gold at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.
The winery won the top gong in the Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries category.
Sandalford Wine chief executive Grant Brinklow said the award was a major milestone for the business.
“We have a terrific history in state-based awards, a national award is coveted no matter what field you are in and our sector really is world class, so to win nationally is a tremendous achievement,” he said.
“It is a win that is hard to surpass.”
Mr Brinklow said the title was a win for state tourism and the Margaret River Wine region.
“The award is really good for all of us, it just adds to the concept of ‘Another day in WA’, another reason for visitors to come here,” he said.
“It wasn’t until I was at the awards, looking at how the tough the competition was that I truly realised how good we have it as a tourism space in WA. In our own backyard there are so many world class wine tour operators offering unique, incredible experiences – it is unlike anything else or anywhere else in the world.”
Mr Brinklow said it was extremely tough to stand out in the region’s world class industry and credited the businesses ‘China-ready’ approach as adding another element to their tourism business.
Between their Swan Valley winery and Margaret River cellar door, Sandalford Wines has seven staff fluent in Mandarin.
Their marketing and menus also offer Mandarin options.
Mr Brinklow said catering for Chinese tourists was increasingly relevant for the WA industry, with the state having an advantage over the eastern states due to shorter travel times.
“The opportunity for wine tourism in WA from China is massive – 20 years ago, no one drank wine in China, now everybody is drinking wine,” he said.
“Each year, 200 million Chinese holiday overseas, 1.3 million visit Australia and 51,000 come to WA.
“What they want is wide open spaces, blue skies, wine and food of provenance. Producers in WA have a great opportunity to be ready for it and a tailor an experience for Chinese speakers.”